A day after Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned at the behest of the mayor, the new chief made his first public address on Friday, saying his top priorities were to "reform, reform, reform" the department.
Acting Police Chief Toney Chaplin briefly spoke at a Chinatown news conference about meeting with his command staff and including the mayor as he makes "organizational assessments" and comes up with a "strategic plan" as he takes helm of being San Francisco's top cop.
"The department has to move forward," he said, noting Suhr's years of service to San Francisco. His top priority? "Body camera rollout," Chaplin said, because using that technology with officers gives the department "another set of eyes."
His second priority: Re-examining the department's use of force policy.
Chaplin also offered nothing of substance to offer following Thursday's fatal shooting of a 27-year-old woman in a stolen car in the Bayview District, which ultimately led to Suhr's resignation hours afterward. He spoke in Chinatown to address a previous assault with the community there.
Chaplin is a 26-year department veteran, and the fact that he is African American was not lost on many, including Mayor Ed Lee, who asked Suhr to leave on Thursday.
“He’s established a record of commitment to the city’s diverse communities,” Lee said at a news conference.
Over more than two decades, Chaplin worked in the Mission and Taraval stations, on the gang task force and as head of the homicide unit, rising up through the ranks until his most recent position as deputy chief, the second-highest-ranking position in the department.
In that position, the San Francisco Chronicle noted he was charged with overseeing reforms, including putting into practice President Obama’s 21st Century Policing recommendations,which include independent investigations into officer-involved shootings and addressing racial profiling.
In February 2016, he was tapped by Suhr to be the "chief of the Professional Standars and Principled Policing Bureau," acting as a liaison between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice’s community policing unit. That same month, he was appointed to lead the "Collaborative Reform Initiative" to "fundamentally re-engineer" the way the police department uses force.
Lee, who is also under fire to resign from activists who have named themselves the "Frisco Five," asked Suhr to leave Thursday, hours after a police sergeant had killed a 27-year-old woman fleeing in what was thought to be a stolen car. There has been no evidence to support that she was armed.
That was the third fatal officer-involved shooting since December, which took the life of Mario Woods, a 26-year-old African-American man who would not drop a knife. A cell phone camera captured officers shooting at him multiple times.
In April, police killed Luis Gongora, 25, a homeless man, who was seen kicking a basketball off of parked cars in the Mission District and walking down the street "swinging indiscriminately" with a large kitchen knife, Suhr had said at the time.
Chaplin was also invited by Rev. Amos Brown, to speak at the NAACP's regular meeting Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco.